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4 easy ways to recoup some of your holiday spending

Did your bank account take a hit this season? Here's how to make some quick cash.

by Jean Chatzky /  / Updated 
Here are some quick ways to make some cash. Anfisa Kameneva / EyeEm / Getty Images/EyeEm
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Have you been avoiding your post-holiday credit card statement? If so, you’re not alone. The average consumer planned to spend $608 this season on gifts for family, friends and coworkers, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) — and it’s safe to say that some shelled out considerably more. Here’s the good news: If you’re looking to recoup some of your holiday spending, we’ve got some quick ways to do just that. Here are a few things to try.

Sell old tech devices

The average household is sitting on $264 in unused tech items.

The average household is sitting on $264 in unused tech items.

Got a new phone or tablet for the holiday? Great, you can get rid of your old one — and the sooner you do it, the more you'll likely recoup. The average household is sitting on $264 in unused tech items, according to research by Decluttr.com. So if you’ve got old smartphones, iPods, tablets or laptops lying around in desk drawers, this could be a great time to trade them in for cash. You can do this on sites like eBay or Amazon, ask about available trade-in credit with your phone carrier or get a quote from a tech buy-back site like Decluttr.com or Gazelle.com. (If your old devices have cracked screens or won’t power on, never fear — tech buy-back sites will usually still make you an offer.) As for what you can net in cash? An unlocked iPhone 6s with 128 gigabytes of storage in good condition currently goes for $291 on Decluttr.com, while you could get $40 for a working iPod Classic 6th generation with 160 gigabytes of storage.

Take advantage of unused gift cards

Take some time to dig around in your old wallets, purses and drawers for gift cards you’ve forgotten about over the years. And if you received gift cards over the holidays that you know you won’t use, add those to your stack. You can trade them in for cash and put the money towards your financial new year’s resolutions. Sites like CardKangaroo and Raise will buy your gift cards at a discounted rate. (For example, on CardKangaroo, the current going rate for a $25 iTunes gift card is $16.38 — and a $50 gift card to J. Crew could net you just over $37 in cash.)

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Explore insurance policy rewards and dividends

Open Enrollment just wrapped up, so if you’ve changed policies or insurance companies, make a call to see if your company offers rewards or dividends. For example, Oscar health insurance will pay plan participants $1 in Amazon credit for every day they reach their daily step goal, up to $240 a year. Some health insurance companies even offer discounts or reimbursements for gym memberships, so it's a good idea to check with yours. As for dividends? Insurance cooperatives or member-based insurance companies sometimes offer partial refunds to members at year-end if the company paid out fewer claims than estimated. The dividends should come in the form of a balance credit or a check between October and January, so you may have one in the mail.

Pick up a side gig

Whether it’s dog-walking, driving or running errands, most side gigs require a minimum commitment — meaning you can work as little or as much as you want. If you’ve got a car and you don’t mind driving, you could sign up to drive for a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft. If you’re an animal lover living in a walkable city, on the other hand, walking or pet-sitting dogs with Rover or Wag! is a good bet. And if you’re good with errands (and putting together furniture)? TaskRabbit is a viable option. Finally, if you’d like to try your hand at babysitting, Care.com and Sittercity post local positions (both sites are free for babysitters to join, but different background checks cost between $15 and $60). “Think about what your talents are” and the time you have available, says Lisa Rowan, savings expert at The Penny Hoarder. Keep in mind, too, that word of mouth is powerful — so spread the word that you’d be open to house-sitting or pet-sitting for friends and colleagues. These side jobs can be more straightforward (and more lucrative) than sharing profits with an app or website.

With Hayden Field.

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